January 31, 2007
we’ve all read a bit about vista. but i ask myself what the big deal is. i’ve yet to work it out, so i turned with great interest to steve ballmer’s interview in the FT. sure enough there are gems to be found:
Vista’s an open system in which other people can connect in essentially the way we can. And there’s a whole consent decree that basically talks about that. On the other hand, we bet, we invest, we add on to Vista more seriously than anybody else on the planet. Everybody can, but we do. And I think that gives us some unique opportunities.
got that? jeez, has he been talking too much to george w?
Again, there are things we do do, and can do, and things we don’t do, and can’t do. So I don’t want to say that the introduction of Vista release fundamentally changes that. The thing we need to do of course is we need to have a better portable entertainment experience than Apple and a better search experience than Google.
well maybe donald rumsfeld then?
i went to a high-end hamburger joint today with a friend. I asked him why all these kind of places had that pulp fiction picture with uma thurman sitting in jack rabbit slims. i can’t remember exactly what he said, but i think it’s because you can hear uma order a $5 shake.
straight afterwards we went for a drink in the soho hotel and ordered irish coffees. i’m delighted to tell you that this was my first £10 irish coffee (i left him to pay the bill). and it was not good.
i have promised someone that i’ll post a youtube video of how to make irish coffee. i did check to see whether anyone had already done this, and there are 38 videos. all of them rubbish. watch this space.
January 26, 2007
More than a million people live in London’s flood plains, and they should be worried. Longer term (think a dozen years) the Thames Barrier is not going to be sufficient to hold back the tides. I guess someone somewhere has this in hand? But even right now things look pretty grim. Since being built in 1982 it is raised in anger around 4 times a year. Just in the last 4 DAYS it has been raised 3 times. oops.
It is unusual to close it so often in such a short space of time, but our job is to monitor tidal levels and the weather to ensure we close the barrier if necessary, which it has been over the past few days. It highlights just how necessary the Thames Barrier is to help reduce the risk of flooding in London and it serves as a reminder to us all that living in the flood plain is never without risk.
January 25, 2007
the UK is to introduce citizenship classes in which children will be taught . . . er . . . something about being British. Despite reading the news articles and listening to government spokesmen, I still have no idea what they are talking about. It’s quite hard to work out quite what Britishness has that other ‘ishnesses do not. Except, that is, British history, but i thought that was taught anyhow? Looking at what has been said it seems to revolve around ethnicity. Like this:
Mr Johnson added that such classes were also crucial for children in schools with very few ethnic minority students as well as those with many - as many white children in Britain often lacked any understanding of their modern society or identity.
“They (the report) asked a whole range of children about their identities and then they asked a white child, who said that he did not have an identity,” he said.
It often seems to me that the only time you see racial epithets applied is by government. Quite what someone’s colour has to do with anything I have no idea. Government spokesmen seem to be of the opinion that all non-whites arrived on a boat yesterday. And what about non-non-white immigrants? Don’t they count? Really, this is almost funny, something out of a 1970s UK sitcom. Perhaps showing “Til death us do part” or “Rising Damp”, or “Mixed Blessings” is all part of the plan. Hey, perhaps racial intolerance is at the heart of Britishness!
Officials said Sir Keith would argue that more needs to be done to provide “the essential glue” that binds British society together.
. . . er, yes. More what needs to be done? what is this magic glue? I think we should be told.
January 19, 2007
it seems that the humble mobile contains more germs than a toilet seat or the bottom of a shoe.
“The phones contained more skin bacteria than the any other object; this could be due to the fact that this type of bacteria increases in high temperatures and our phones are perfect for breeding these germs as they’re kept warm and cozy in our pockets, handbags and brief cases. These bacteria are toxic to humans, and can cause infections if they have the opportunity to enter the body.” - Joanne Verran, Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University
brings to mind Douglas Adams’ The HHGTTG, all those useless tertiary sector workers like hairdressers and telephone sanitisers who were tricked into leaving the planet Golgafrincham on the ‘B’ ark, only for the Golgafrincham’s population to get wiped out by a disease spread by telephones. btw wikipedia has a great HHGTTG set of pages, including this one on places.
January 18, 2007
Its a bit on the windy side in London at the moment. Consequently (just as it is when it’s a bit wet, a bit snowy, or a bit sunny - yep, basically a bit anything) nothing in Britain is actually working properly.
As of: Thursday 18 January 2007 15:18:44
Important Service Bulletin(s):
Bad weather is affecting train services throughout England, Wales and parts of Scotland on Thursday 18 January 2007. Alterations, cancellations and delays can be expected due to high winds, flooding and speed restrictions being imposed
It is not possible to give accurate information for this station at present.
update ok. 10 people died, maybe it was pretty bad.
January 15, 2007
this a map of a set of territories whose population is rapidly expanding, just two years after being ‘discovered’. that’s right, 0.1% of the world’s population play World of Warcraft.
As it is with the real-world population, Chinese subscribers are the largest demographic in Azeroth, totaling 3.5 million players. Next up is North America, with 2 million players, followed by Europe, with 1.5 million–the remainder of subscribers are in other territories.
yep, you couldn’t make this stuff up:
SACRAMENTO - Contestants in a radio stunt called ‘’Hold Your Wee for a Wii'’ have revealed new details about an on-air water drinking contest that left a 28-year-old mother of three dead.
Jennifer Lea Strange died after drinking well over a half gallon of water Friday during the ‘’Morning Rave'’ program on KDND-FM. About 18 contestants vied for a Nintendo Wii gaming console by drinking as much water as they could without going to the bathroom; Strange took second place.
so i mentioned before about queuing up videos on youtube. but that’s not really satisfactory. what i want is to download them and play them in itunes. if you have a mac this is expertly done with tubesock. it costs $15, and i have an aversion to paying for software, but it works beautifully and i’m tempted. In the meantime FLV online converter doeas what i need it to with a little more messing around. there are many services and applications around. let me know if there is a great free one.
Update: i tried a bunch of firefox plugins, all were pretty bad. one thing i want is to strip the audio from the file if i want.
Update: I went with tubesock, which is adequate.
we all know that the east is threatening the west’s economic and political dominance. but who are these people? what do they want? where better to look than the chinese version of google, baidu, who recently revealed the top 10 questions on their search engine in the what, should, how, why categories. The “should I” questions are my favourite, like this one:
2. Should I continue living?
thanks to Rob for pointing this out.
what happens if you search google for this phrase? you got it, you get the top 10 Baidu “should I” questions. only there is a note that “should i continue living” is the title of a song. not that that changes anything.
elsewhere in search engine land (thanks, terry), it appears google maps is being used by bad people for bad things, like targeting UK troops in Iraq. And, of course, if they can do it there, why not elsewhere. we shouldn’t be surprised if the whole curb on freedom of info thing rears it’s ugly head again, all in our interests, of course.
A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.
“We have opened channels with the military in Iraq but we are not prepared to discuss what we have discussed with them. But we do listen and we are sensitive to requests.”
and it doesn’t end there.
Soldiers from the Royal Green Jackets based at the Basra Palace base said they had considered suing Google Earth if they were injured by mortar rounds that had been directed on the camp by the aerial footage.